Android OS growing in leaps and bounds

Google's Android and Nokia's Symbian OS will share control of the smartphone market by 2014, an analytics firm said Friday.

Android continues to gobble up shares of the mobile market. Here, a woman tries out a Google Android-powered Samsung tablet in Berlin.

Android, ascendant.

Today, research firm Gartner said that within two years, Google's Android and Nokia's Symbian operating systems will dominate the smartphone market. According to Gartner, Android, which should finish 2010 with a 17.7 percent market share, will grow explosively in coming months, eventually earning a whopping 29.6 share.

By comparison, Gartner thinks the Apple iPhone will go from 14.4 percent to 14.9 percent in 2014, or third place behind market leader Symbian and second-place Android. (Symbian will shrink from 46.9 percent to 30.2 percent.)

"It's a matter of Android really going more into the hands of the mainstream user," Gartner's Roberta Cozza told the Mercury News today. "The iPhone will remain focused toward the higher end of the market, while through the end of this year and into 2011, all that growth you see in Android will come from the fact that most of the vendors who are backing it will release cheaper smartphones."

It has, of course, already been a stunningly good summer for Google's mobile OS.

In August, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters that 200,000 – count them – new Android devices are sold every day. "People are finally beginning to figure out how successful Android is," Schmidt said. "The number was about 100,000 (a day) about two months ago. It looks like Android is not just phenomenal but incredibly phenomenal in its growth rate. God knows how long that will continue."

That same month, the NPD group announced that Android had become the most popular smartphone operating system in the US. Android-equipped phones, NPD reps said, currently account for 33 percent of all smartphones purchased by American consumers. By comparison, BlackBerry accounted for 28 percent of the market, and Apple, 22 percent.

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